This month CSH Protocols is focusing on Drosophila, with protocols on setting up and maintaining a Drosophila laboratory, culturing large populations of flies, preparing cytoplasmic extracts, isolating membrane proteins, immunoblotting and in vitro transcription. We’re putting a strong emphasis on techniques using model systems, so expect more Drosophila protocols over the next few months (not to mention protocols for Xenopus, Zebrafish, Mouse, C. elegans and more….).

Authors Michael Ashburner and John Roote point out the continuity of techniques throughout the history of Drosophila research, noting, “if he were to enter a fly room today, T.H. Morgan would clearly recognize what is being done, and why.” Here are a few photos of Morgan’s fly room at Columbia so you can decide for yourself. The first is from around 1920, and the second shows Calvin Bridges in 1926. These pictures come from DNA From The Beginning, a superb educational resource from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Dolan DNA Learning Center. If you’re not already raiding this site for pictures and animations for your lectures, you should be.

The Fly Room at Columbia, circa 1920

Calvin Bridges in the Fly Room, circa 1926